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By: hamtastic, Erik Friborg
Jan 25 2008 11:07am
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Table of contents:

MTGO Discussion Items
Editorial Section
Server Log In Availability
MTGO Price Movers and Shakers
Public Hide List
Outstanding Issues
Bug Complaints


MTGO Announcements:
Rules at a glance:
Replay Functionality Replay Functionality Change Certain replays are back up and running.
No spamming in certain channels Buying/Selling adverts in Casual/Auction Don't spam in the auction room or casual room
No Multiplayer in V3 V3 Announcements V3 is slated to go live without Multiplayer support
No Leagues in V3 V3 Announcements V3 is slated to go live without Leagues at all.
No Weekend Replays Replays off on the weekends No replays on the weekends.

Disabled Replays:
An update on this item.  Replays have been turned off over the weekends to help reduce server stress at that time.  The blackout begins Friday night each weekend.

11-02-07 through 01-18-08:

In a further effort to reduce system stress, replays have been removed from the client's default features.  Discussion about the change is below.
They've been turned on with a lot more regularity this week, which is nice.  However the default is still 'off' after reboots or crashes.

Play and Replay were in a boat...

Single Client Restrictions Status:

12-28-07 through 01-25-08:
Our current status is: SCR Lifted.  
Forever it seems.  Look for this section to go away soon if that's the case.

11-02-07 through 12-21-07:
Our current status is: SCR Active.

Our current status is: SCR Lifted.

Our current status is: SCR Active.

The single client restriction is per user, not per machine.  Meaning that only one login per person is allowed.  Bots and people breaking this rule have had their accounts banned for 24 hours recently.  Again, leaving this here for reminder slash warning.

How to handle those breaking the rules


MTGO Discussion Items: 

Wizards Affiliated Posters?:

The big item this week was concern about Wizard's Affiliated posters and their effect on the discussion on the boards.  Some are of the opinion that they exist and are trying to shape and guide the community.  Some think they exist but make no difference, and others think the previous two are paranoid.  Whichever way you look at it, there have certainly been a lot of entertaining posts in the thread. 

Wizards Affiliated Posters?

Elder Dragon Highlander, Open to all!:

EDH (Elder Dragon Higlander) is now open to the masses.  Be sure to include a commander if you're going to join a game otherwise it's going to be boring!

EDH For Some, Miniature flags for all!

V3 Deck Editor... OMG Fixed?:
01-18-08 through 01-25-08:

Those who frequent the WotC boards know that I have a couple of passions.  Bugs, and the lunacy of the current deck editor.  A quick synopsis of my issue with the deck editor: in our current version of MTGO, if you have older versions of Standard cards they don't show up when you filter by 'Standard' in the deck editor.  Say, for instance that you have 4x 9th Edition Wrath of God's, they are completely legal in Standard but don't show up when you tell the deck editor to show you 'Standard Cards'.   Good news!  This is now fixed in V3's Deck Editor.  There are still a few things needing to be squashed with this fix, but now, all older cards show up as legal if they have one version legal in the filtered setting.  For example, the Mirage Charcoal Diamond shows as Extended legal since it was printed in 7th Edition.  Kudos, MTGO team!

Multiplayer not Supported in V3a:
01-11-08 through 01-
25 -08:
The announcement of V3 launching without Multiplayer support and without leagues has created a bit of a stir amongst the Multiplayer community.  Please note that V3 has multiplayer functionality already, but it's not completed and it doesn't have any other option besides the very inefficient mana wheel design.

No V3 Without Multiplayer!

Green Playmat Tweak for V3:
01-04-08 through 01-
25 -08
The Green felt playmat is strangely missing from V3, so some industrious users have figured out how to replace it.  Detailed instructions are here.

V3 Progress:

Still paused.  Yep.


Still paused as of 01-16-08.  A new version of the client (version .175) was released.  Some major file reduction has brought it down from over a gig to under 700 megs.  Good stuff.

The countdown timer was paused for a couple of days this week while they are working on a Database issue that appears to have cropped up.  jamuraa has created a thread for tracking of the status and the announcements regarding this countdown timer, located here.

Version  3.0.751.0 was released this week.  At the time of this writing the system was still in maintenance so I was unable to see what, if anything, changed on the client side for this update.  The countdown timer is at 23.  Twenty.  Three. Days.  Eep!

Even BIGGER news this week!  According to a recent blog entry, V3 is scheduled to be released Monday, January 28th.  You can watch the countdown here, and talk about the announcement here.  I'm working on an article that will explain in detail how to make V3 do the things that you're used to doing in V2.5.  Things like getting to the marketplace, joining events, and client configurations.

BIG news in the past few weeks!!! The new duel screen has been unveiled to the masses and the feedback regarding it has bee quite good.  There are still issues with the textures and dock, but the use of space of the scene itself is much much better.  Jamuraa's site linked below has the evidence.

Version 167 was released this week.  And it appears that we got some new art from Fifth Dawn this time.

Version 164 was released this week with more fixes to the PE's.  It still seem that a lot of people are dropping from the events.  No one's really sure what can be done to stop this behavior.

MTGO V3 Beta version .158 was released this week, and for the first time in a long time we are allowed to log in and play.  jamuraa updated his amazing comparison site already for quick compare and contrast availability.

Jamuraa's Site

Release Notes

New Format Needed?

12-28-07 through 01-25-08:
With the impending doom of the Extended 2008 rotation many players are starting to see the writing on the wall...  Your Extended card pool will go from a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond of Classic cards.  This has spooked some players and they are looking to WotC to fix it.  The two most common solutions are 'Block Wars' where you can only build decks from Blocks of the same cards, or Build Your Own Standard (BYOS), where you can pick any two large sets and a core set for your available pool.  For example, you could choose Champions, Time Spiral and 9th, or Invasion, Ravnica and Xth, etc...  The latest request for this feature is here.

Classic Card Buying Tips:
12-28-07 through 01-25-08:
Another impact of the ever hastening rotation is people are looking for advice on what to pick up to be prepared in the new environment.  A good thread for discussion of these cards can be found here

Editorial Section:
OnlyHellWillFillYourVoid Banner
An Evening in Only Hell

“V3 is the worst decision since Fallen Empire's release.” - liber8ing

When I heard about the lack of support for Multiplayer and Leagues two groups immediately came to mind: OnlyHellWillFillYourVoid and League Warriors, respectively.  I asked NeoNetGen, captain of OH if he and his clanmates would be interested in talking with me for my article, and they were kind enough to agree.  So here it is, my evening with Hell. 

***Authors Note: the views and opinions expressed in this interview are not necessarily the views of the Author or PureMTGO.com, its owners or staff. $4.95 for shipping and handling, money back guarantee. ***

hamtastic: So first up, how long have you all been playing MTGO... Multiplayer in particular.

evilnapkin: Since Darksteel
DarkPrincess83: I've been on a year, playing multiplayer for 10 months
Twilight: Beta tester 2001, [multiplayer] was here when it went live June 24th.  2003
YesImBrandon: Online since 2005 and multiplayer has been my choice of play since the beginning.
SadisticChaos: since.... 2003
BIG RUNCH: I’d say about 2004ish

Current Issues:
hamtastic: What's the worst part of V2 for Multiplayer (play space, 'attack left' glitch, etc)?
evilnapkin: The lag, by far.  It's almost amplified in multi
DarkPrincess83: The attack left bug is ridiculous.
evilnapkin: But the attack left bug can ruin a PRE
Twilight: It has.  A lot of them
DarkPrincess83: One thing I hate, is the 'casual multi room' arguments
NeoNetGen: what do you mean
BIG RUNCH: Casual debate in general is ridiculous.
hamtastic: As in, there needs to be two MP rooms for casual/competitive?
DarkPrincess83: But there is a tourney practice room
DarkPrincess83: Yes, that would be awesome.
evilnapkin: It's people who take the idea of casual too far that wear on my nerves
DarkPrincess83: Yeah

hamtastic: Hmm.  In order for multi-competitive wouldn't there need to be MP tourneys (which sounds like a good idea).
DarkPrincess83: Yeah
BIG RUNCH: I think so
DarkPrincess83: Have clans compete
evilnapkin: That is. But that may enhance lag ten fold, seeing as with even replays disabled it still drags.
BIG RUNCH: It would be nice to give clans a little more identity and purpose
DarkPrincess83: Yeah
YesImBrandon: Competitive multiplayer is very popular in paper magic, it was the key event I attended the recent pre-release.
evilnapkin: It may also stir up a community like the ones most tourney players have

Multiplayer Tourneys:
hamtastic: As far as MP tourneys, what would be the ones you'd like to see first?  (2hg, 5 player FFA, etc)
evilnapkin: 2hg
DarkPrincess83: 2hg
BIG RUNCH: 2hg followed by FFA
NeoNetGen: FFA. It would be the easiest
YesImBrandon: 2hg for sure for me.
evilnapkin: FFA is cool but what restrictions? Cutthroat and what not
NeoNetGen: Yeah but if it went 'for Money' you can bet there’s restrictions
evilnapkin: Like, if a whole clan and one token not clan was playing, the token clan guy would lose interest fast.
hamtastic: True.  If WotC took it (2HG) over, what cards should they be on the lookout for in regards to banning/restriction?
evilnapkin: Erayo
evilnapkin: If you watch some PRE's you'd get an idea on what could be banned
NeoNetGen: Surely 

Banning/Restriction if WotC started tourneys.
hamtastic: Yes, WotC handles the bannings, but generally outside of Std/Ext/Block they need input from the community. 
evilnapkin: Again Erayo is the biggest one seen so far
NeoNetGen: Erayo is a no-brainer
BIG RUNCH: It's just tiring to see some of the same decks
evilnapkin: But that’s just about it
BIG RUNCH: Dragon storm
NeoNetGen: And the same people
BIG RUNCH: Kokusho
DarkPrincess83: Right
evilnapkin: And again watch and figure it, you could get a good feeling for it
DarkPrincess83: TEPS, Breakfast 

V3 Focuses:
hamtastic: In V3, would the first focus be 2hg for you?
NeoNetGen: So 2hg is really the format..... the one on paper or the hybrid one we play online?
evilnapkin: Sure since most of the clan plays 2hg
DarkPrincess83: I agree with napkin
evilnapkin: I mean wouldn’t the first thing for u be 1v1 if you play it a lot?
BIG RUNCH: I don’t think they can focus on one or the other, can they?
evilnapkin: People will be worried about what they play most
NeoNetGen: I bet they can find a way to
evilnapkin: and here in this chat its mostly 2hg
hamtastic: Gotcha.

hamtastic: so no EMPs in the room then.. .;)
evilnapkin: that’s a rant....
NeoNetGen: heh  
DarkPrincess83: I play emp with certain peeps
SadisticChaos: I play EMP
BIG RUNCH: not i anyways
evilnapkin: some one get casper in here
SadisticChaos: we have a few
YesImBrandon: 2hg is much easier to pick up any of your clan members and just start a match with.
SadisticChaos: OH was the reason Gents rules were brought to online EMP
SadisticChaos: its usually caspert, Dark Princess and I playing EMP 

hamtastic: So, if they're going to make a tourney format for 2HG, it should be the paper rules.
liber8ing: 2hg paper version is all good and well, but you're talking about a situation where you aren’t total strangers.
BIG RUNCH: why not, keep it the same, less confusion
hamtastic: Although I imagine that if a team were to join an event that they would have all the 'who does what' worked out before hand.
NeoNetGen: you hope so
evilnapkin: There’s a lot to take into account, also
hamtastic: I could see a couple of newbies joining up at the last minute and getting into an argument about it.
NeoNetGen: I kind of agree with Lib.... we don’t know that format it's not what we play daily
DarkPrincess83: yeah
evilnapkin: So wed' have to test it a bit
evilnapkin: like exploring a new feature so to speak
NeoNetGen: Because quite obviously what we play here for competitive play I can only imagine seems infantile to what is really considered   'Team Play'

YesImBrandon: What would be interesting is being able to hold Sealed deck tournaments for 2hg, however it may result in players bickering over who gets to use which cards.

NeoNetGen: Interesting
evilnapkin: It's one of those we hope for it but the standards are a bit high
NeoNetGen: No.  Leave the bickering to the teams.  Oh now that sounds interesting
evilnapkin: That can go so many ways it make ME lag
NeoNetGen /me wants to earn a 2100 MP rating  
DarkPrincess83: me too
evilnapkin: more so than usual mind u
SadisticChaos: same
hamtastic: I've seen that happen in paper Brandon.  Usually they decide that one person will pay the fee and keep the cards.  But that may not always work out.
YesImBrandon: It would make sense for Wizards to have a system where each member of the 2hg team can pick a card playground style at the end of the match so there's no bickering over who got the better cards from the sealed tournament.
hamtastic: Yeah.  That would have to be worked out for MTGO, for sure.
NeoNetGen: I think it goes without saying you wouldn’t enter a tourney like that with a stranger.   But who the hell knows
evilnapkin: Which begs the question of what sacrifices would be made?
BIG RUNCH: It should be available to anyone though
2HG Format Changes:
hamtastic: There was talk on the boards a while ago about making MTGO 2HG match paper 2HG... any thoughts on what that does to the casual room?
NeoNetGen: As long as you have the option to play this format I’m cool with it
evilnapkin: That’s about a push
SadisticChaos: Same here
evilnapkin: It would take some getting used to but would be cool over all
evilnapkin: It would bring in more people as well
hamtastic: 'this format' being the current 'non-shared deck count' rules?
DarkPrincess83: yeah
NeoNetGen: It would bring the competitive players online I bet
hamtastic: *nods like Bryant Gumble*
YesImBrandon: Casual players will not be happy with having a big head who makes the final decisions on who makes actions as they do in paper, so it would cause  a lot more unfinished games when players don't get their way.
hamtastic: That's a good point.
NeoNetGen: Maybe help clans have a real life factor as well as online   or someway to tie them in competitively
evilnapkin: And still if you announce it like no ld' it could work as well
YesImBrandon: However I think the paper magic version captures what a 'two-headed giant' should be, and is more competitive to play making attacks and blocks as a team.
evilnapkin: but it still lies with how wizards would do it 2
NeoNetGen: this format is to random your limited to really what you can do
evilnapkin: because every ones view on 2hg is different
V3 Thoughts:
hamtastic: have any of you used V3's multiplayer?
evilnapkin: {T}
DarkPrincess83: no
NeoNetGen: this doesn’t seem open enough to me.
BIG RUNCH: after seeing the small 1v1 screens, I was afraid I wouldn’t see anything at all in MP 

Other Interests:
hamtastic: Do any of you play sealed/tourneys right now, or is it mostly just Multiplayer or nothing?
evilnapkin: I do some sealed
BIG RUNCH: MP for me
DarkPrincess83: I tried drafting
evilnapkin: my rating used to be lower {y}
DarkPrincess83: but I love MP
NeoNetGen: I don’t waste my money on packs I just buy what I want
evilnapkin: i <3 nix tix
evilnapkin: avatars are a good draw for me also
YesImBrandon: I play little sealed, which is due to the fact that multiplayer tournament does not exist.
YesImBrandon: I agree with Neo, buy singles.
evilnapkin: But still mostly I stick to tix with hardcore drafters dropping the prices it's near a why bother stage
BIG RUNCH: true 

General Feedback on V3 Multiplayer:
hamtastic: I know you guys are upset with the decision to launch V3 without MP support.  And rightfully so, if MP were my bread and butter I'd be fuming.  Is there anything (keep it clean please) that you'd like to add about that decision?
DarkPrincess83: it's <removed by filter>!
evilnapkin: Yeah, why release something that’s not done?
DarkPrincess83: Wrong
BIG RUNCH: It's just poor decision making
BIG RUNCH: There is rarely less than 200 peeps in the room at any time
YesImBrandon: I understand it may not be stable, but for as long as V3 has been pushed back for why can't it be delayed long enough to add one of the best features of the online game.
BIG RUNCH: Why wasn’t this worked out long ago?
evilnapkin: I have never done something half way then just sent it to a customer, and if I did I could live with my self that sends a message of this is my best work
BIG RUNCH: Why didn’t they just swap server styles and keep the functions and appearance as is for release?
evilnapkin: and its half done
BIG RUNCH: That stuff is minor and can be changed whenever
YesImBrandon: Microsoft does it all the time. :)
BIG RUNCH: The basic functionality of this program has been abandoned
liber8ing: I, like a lot of other players, enjoy the game of Magic. Multiplayer formats are how I learned to play, kept me interested in the game, and subsequently kept me playing the game for all these years. To not support that aspect of the game is mind blowing considering what that aspect does for the game.
NeoNetGen: I think it sucks for those of us that have been here since 02 and the beta players as well to just <censored> on us who cares about MP at the moment really... it has been so long and the players have been patient. Why should we even consider accepting half assed work?
SadisticChaos: I feel the releasing V3 without multi will take away the part of the game I find most exhilarating..  I very rarely play 1v1 because there is less interaction with the community.  I used to play 1v1, until I found that having several conversations in a game with more then one person at a time was a way to get more out of my escape from reality in a shorter period of time. It was more fulfilling..
BIG RUNCH: It's half (or less) done
liber8ing: I don’t know about the rest of you here, but I learned how to play with 8 players at a table
BIG RUNCH: The whole situation is unacceptable
evilnapkin: Me too
liber8ing: All night games weren’t uncommon
evilnapkin: But so fun
evilnapkin: Good times good times
YesImBrandon: Yeah I learned magic from large chaos matches, not 1v1.
SadisticChaos: It will be a shock to go back to 1V1 while multiplayer is being fixed in V3..And there is always the fear that it will take them longer then they said it would and we will be without multi for years ...I mean it took them well over a year to just release V3..
Onizaka: Maybe because I’m American and I know <things> can be better, but I don’t understand why they didn’t either out-source the programming to a country that does not have labor laws or hire the people that can in fact code...I don’t see how management still has a job
DarkPrincess83: I love MP for the reason of interaction with others
liber8ing: shock...I wont be shocked by going back to 1v1, I probably wont play much
BIG RUNCH: Me either
liber8ing: It's disturbing
evilnapkin: It's like wizards is trying so hard to tork off its loyal clients
BIG RUNCH: Again, it will be a blow to clans too
liber8ing: At least in multiplayer, there is an opportunity of balance
BIG RUNCH: Clans have never been important to them
evilnapkin: And all we get is an empty apologize
Onizaka: Which i don’t understand
YesImBrandon: In the Software Development Cycle the Maintenance phase, updating, fixing bugs and revising is the largest/most expensive phase, the problem is higher-ups in the hierarchical structure don't understand the software cycle and want code, if its missing a few features, as long as there is money being made again.
BIG RUNCH: MP is the only way to get the most out of clans
NeoNetGen: I think it's <censored> that we are supporting a company with 5 years in the marketplace and  we are really talking about server stability. 
SadisticChaos: Server stability ..heh..  What’s that?
evilnapkin: But since we don’t play 1v1 tourneys its like we don't exist
SadisticChaos: WotC would make a lot more money if they came up with competitive Multiplayer
YesImBrandon  /me is a nerdy CS major. 
liber8ing: The thing I don’t understand about the server is why they bother holding events when they know the traffic will shut it down
evilnapkin: And it would give a new side of the story and a voice
SadisticChaos: They know they’ll make money Lib
evilnapkin: And the cycle repeats
SadisticChaos: True
liber8ing: That's exactly why I wont play events. who wants to join, get half through then watch your screen freeze?
NeoNetGen: I said it this morning and I'll say it again.... we really are thinking about this too small.  Our money isn’t supporting a local store. Our money doesn’t matter.  If they lose 1 of you they will make 3 more next week.  This mismanagement will continue. 
YesImBrandon: With the 200-300 people that would have normally been in multiplayer maybe 5 - 10% will now spend their time drafting, or attending other product related events.
SadisticChaos: 90% of OnlyHell is addicted to this game. not only this game but to Multiplayer...
figueroaROB: <---
BIG RUNCH: Another vice
liber8ing: So long as it's profitable, sure, but Neo, so long as they have capital coming from other sources, and they aren’t losing their shirts, they'll continue
liber8ing: I disagree, Brandon
YesImBrandon: I'm not saying its a good thing, but I think before I just go play casual 1v1 I would take the time while multiplayer is down myself to maybe join a league, or do some drafting.
NeoNetGen: sadly.... I don’t know,  I think the internet is changing and the way business are doing business is changing.. Wizards should take notice of this and take grasp of it before another up and coming TCG make it their business to make this game better
liber8ing: I believe the switch from multiplayer to 1v1 will drive up the affinity, tribals, and other quick but annoying decks
evilnapkin: A lot of the people that don’t care about multi when I ask them they only play EDH so its like a lost cause
SadisticChaos: But EDH  is a multi game
evilnapkin: But that’s the only reason they play and wont miss it
NeoNetGen: This game is predicated on 1-1 play.  MP will always be the smaller portion and only even more so because there’s absolutely no point to ever go in the room... you cant get ratings for it. There’s no real reason to drop money into MP in its current form.
liber8ing: What really boggles my mind is- didn’t they just create another multiplayer format?
YesImBrandon: What’s really entertaining is Wizards introducing new multiplayer game types while releasing a new client that can't support them.
evilnapkin: Or fixing bugs.... like Spellweaver Helix
DarkPrincess83: I like EDH
NeoNetGen: The coders get a break for taking 3.5 years to code what an Indian kid could have done in 1/4 the time and be complete
liber8ing: Who's going to take the time to learn it when it wont be there in a day or two? 

Onizaka: v3 will eventually have MP right?
SadisticChaos: They say it will Oni
evilnapkin: Let's not forget eventually could be like v3s initial launch
hamtastic: Yes, that's what they've said.  But based on the problems V3's had in the past there are a lot of people concerned.  And rightfully so.
evilnapkin: Forever
liber8ing: But, Oni, if it's taken this long for them to release a damaged 1v1 format, guess how long it will take for MP to get off the block?
NeoNetGen: but HOLD THE phone, the almighty {t} TIMER {t} is paused
Onizaka: true 

Quotable Quotes:
liber8ing: Ham, you can quote this... V3 is the worst decision since Fallen Empire's release.

Wrap up:
NeoNetGen: I’m always called anti-company and that’s cool... but this so blatant anyone who can't see they are being treated like crap by the company needs to read some of the promises on wizards.com prior to Gleemax, and even before MTGO lost its articles. 

Obviously, there are some major concerns from the multiplayer groups about the direction of V3 and MTGO in general.  Looking at the situation from their point of view, I cannot say that I disagree with them.  It is hard to even put myself in their shoes.  I cannot imagine how I would deal with it if they decided to launch without say, casual 1v1 play.  It would just seem too bizarre for words.  Essentially, that’s what’s happening to these players.  The main (and in some cases only) reason for them to log into the application is not supported at the launch of the product.  Some may stick around and play other things, like 1v1 or draft or sealed, but I’d imagine that most just won’t log in while it’s gone… and possibly not even after it comes back if they’ve moved on to other things.  Communication from WotC about progress and completion should be tantamount during the release time for both Leagues and Multiplayer.

There's a lot of text up there, and a lot of good thoughts and concerns about the future of Multiplayer Magic and MTGO.  I invite anyone who's interested in Multiplayer or this Clan in general to visit www.onlyhell.com for more information.
Building a Collection out of Nothing!: aka BaCooN!

It seems that most people don't have 30 tix a week to blow on a deck, or maybe they are looking for staples to build decks around.  Either way, I decided that I'd try something a little different than the traditional BoaB rules and make an evolutionary deck building series where I focus on a staple card and buy and add a copy to the deck each week.  But that's not all!  As I add copies I'll change the deck.  Sometimes it'll be a big change, sometimes a minor thematic change from week to week.  But if I reuse cards from deck to deck I won't count them as costs in the next week's deck.  The staple I'll choose each month will generally be between $5 and $8, with a weekly deck limit of $15.  Of course, by reusing cards I should be able to come in well under that during some of the upgrade weeks.  I'll have other rares in the decks, but will try to keep them to $1 per extra rare to keep things sane.

Also, the deck formats will quite likely vary from week to week.  One week may be Classic, the next, Standard.  I will always play it in the deepest format it qualifies for, so no taking a Standard legal deck to Extended games to see what happens.  Mostly I'm just trying to level set what to expect from this series as we go.  Luck favors the prepared... or something like that.

So, to summarize what the goals of this series are:
  • Build up a casual staple collection
  • Spend less than $15.00 per week
  • Carry over collection week to week

This month's card: Solemn Simulacrum.  He's a casual staple for sure... anyone playing any type of control or midgame deck could probably utilize the sad robot somehow.  Also, he's one of those 'insane in Casual Prismatic' cards your mother warned you about. 

Since I'm only running 1x of the card, I decided that being able to search for him would be a good idea.  Transmute fits this goal nicely.  Also, (Dimir House Guard) also provides a sacrifice outlet to trigger Solemn's second ability, which is nice.  Running the DHG transmute opens up a lot of four casting cost brokenness.  Removal, discard, creatures and permanents abound for this slot.  To really abuse Solemn I'm wanting graveyard recursion... Gravedigger fits.  Also fun in the four slot is Hell's Caretaker.  Since I'm keeping this on a budget and I have ways of tutoring out four spells I only run a single Caretaker.  Being that I'm now looking at bouncing creatures in and out of the graveyard I want easy ways to send them to the 'yard, which makes me think of the new (to us) Diamond Valley.  And to finish the synergasm in the four slot sacrifice/comes into play creatures I throw four Faceless Butcher.  Removal is handled in Keening Banshee, Nekrataal for repeated removal and Faith's Fetters for those pesky enchantments and artifacts that Black can't deal with without help.

4x Highway Robber
4x Gravedigger
4x Faceless Butcher
4x Dimir House Guard
4x Blind Hunter
2x Keening Banshee
2x Nekrataal
1x Solemn Simulacrum
1x Hell's Caretaker

4x Faith's Fetters
2x Skull Catapult
2x Orzhov Signet
3x Barter in Blood

16x Swamp
2x Diamond Valley
4x Orzhov Basilica
1x Plains

Themes for the week:
Recursion, 4cc Tutors, Control.

Future potential themes:
Golem deck, Budget Blue Control.

Cards added to the collection this week:
2x Diamond Valley, 4x Orzhov Basilica, 4x Faith's Fetters, 2x Skull Catapult, 2x Orzhov Signet, 3x Barter in Blood, 4x (Highway Robber), 4x Gravedigger, 4x Faceless Butcher, 4x Dimir House Guard, 4x Blind Hunter, 2x Keening Banshee, 2x Nekrataal, 1x Hell's Caretaker, 1x (Solemn Simulacrum).  for a grand total of: $11.25Each week I'll post how much is spent out of pocket to upgrade from the previous week and how much is spent to build the deck from scratch.

Check in next week when I provide the game logs and what did/didn't work in this build!  Also, if you have any recommendations for the path of this deck or an entirely different path to travel, I'm all ears!... Or eyes(!) or whatever...

Server Log In Availability:

Pretty much self explanatory by now.  High lines are good, low lines are bad.

Card Price Fluctuations:
Standard Sets:
Again, a boring week for Standard sets with minute gains in three of the four sets tracked.  I may stop reporting this chart until something large changes. Although it is nice to see a stable secondary market in respects. 
First up this week are the top fifteen droppers by value:
Card name: Amount Changed Percentage Changed Final Price
Crypt Angel -$0.25 -12.50% $1.75
Nightscape Master -$0.25 -12.50% $1.75
Loxodon Hierarch -$0.25 -6.67% $3.50
Final Judgment -$0.20 -13.33% $1.30
Planar Portal -$0.20 -13.33% $1.30
Thrumming Stone -$0.20 -13.33% $1.30
Allosaurus Rider -$0.15 -11.54% $1.15
Guiltfeeder -$0.15 -11.54% $1.15
Natural Balance -$0.15 -11.54% $1.15
Promise of Bunrei -$0.15 -11.54% $1.15
Spinerock Knoll -$0.15 -11.54% $1.15
Voice of the Woods -$0.15 -11.54% $1.15
Overrun -$0.15 -23.08% $0.50
Soulcatcher -$0.15 -23.08% $0.50
Bad River -$0.15 -16.67% $0.75

Next up is the top fifteen gainers by value: 
Card name: Amount Changed Percentage Changed Final Price
Pernicious Deed $6.00 11.11% $60.00
Vedalken Shackles $6.00 30.00% $26.00
Force of Will $5.00 11.11% $50.00
Arcbound Ravager $4.00 22.22% $22.00
Stifle $3.00 33.33% $12.00
Null Rod $2.50 25.00% $12.50
Windswept Heath $2.00 20.00% $12.00
Polluted Delta $1.25 8.47% $16.00
Flooded Strand $1.25 10.00% $13.75
Godless Shrine $1.00 13.33% $8.50
Blinkmoth Nexus $1.00 14.29% $8.00
Blistering Firecat $1.00 22.22% $5.50
Thawing Glaciers $1.00 33.33% $4.00
Temple Garden $0.75 11.11% $7.50
Breeding Pool $0.50 3.45% $15.00
A couple of new charts this week, the top 5 gaining and dropping Uncommons:
Card name: Amount Changed Percentage Changed Final Price
Overrun -$0.15 -23.08% $0.50
Soulcatcher -$0.15 -23.08% $0.50
Bad River -$0.15 -16.67% $0.75
Dismal Failure -$0.10 -28.57% $0.25
Warped Devotion -$0.10 -28.57% $0.25
Card name: Amount Changed Percentage Changed Final Price
Wash Out $0.15 20.00% $0.90
Smother $0.15 30.00% $0.65
Cephalid Sage $0.05 25.00% $0.25
Sickening Dreams $0.04 50.00% $0.12
Abduction $0.00 0.00% $0.20
I'm going to track Force of Will until it stabilizes... assuming it will stabilize.  Pernicious Deed once again steps in for the reference point. Here is this weeks FoW Chart:

One last thing!  Starting this week I will begin tracking the value of 1x each card.  Sort of like the Dow Jones, this will show the overall value of all items within the system.  This week we gained $36.93 to end the week at: $3958.75.
Outstanding Issues:


PayPal payments not going through for some users:
10-12-07 through 01-25-08:
Overseas Paypal issues have been experiencing many issues trying to order product from the Magic Online store via PayPal.  There has not been any known updates for quite some time.  Update:  Worth has mentioned that it's not an issues from WotC's side, meaning that it's PayPal that's causing the problem.  Since WotC has no control over what PayPal does they're stuck until PayPal gets it fixed.

PayPal issues


Bug complaints:
Chains of Mephistopheles + (Anvil of Bogardan)/Forced Card Draw:
01-25-08 :
Chains is causing entire hands to be emptied due to its own effect when forced to draw from another source.  This bug impacted the last Classic tourney and is probably going to happen again if it isn't fixed soon.

Eyes of the Wisent tokens:
12-28-07 to  01-25-08 :
The tokens from this card say that they have 'Flying', but they actually do not have flying.  This is only a textual bug, but has already caused lost games through the confusion.

Collective Restraint/ Ghostly Prison  Crashing games:

12-21-07 through  01-25-08 :
Game crashing bugs with Collective Restraint and Ghostly Prison.  Score!

Shielding Plax + Targeting:

11-30-07 through  01-25-08 :
Shielding Plax is not granting untargetability correctly.   Link

Colfenor's Plans + extra draw:

11-30-07 through  01-25-08 :
Colfenor's Plans is not handling extra draw actions properly.  Link

Lignify + Layers:

11-23-07 through   01-25-08:
Lignify + Spirit Loop does not appear to follow the correct rules for timestamps and loss of abilities. More information can be found here.

Sutured Ghoul + Tarmogoyf:

10-19-07: through  01-25-08 :
Sutured Ghoul + Tarmogoyf doesn't pump the Ghoul correctly. And before anyone starts to yell about the Ghoul not caring about the Goyf's dynamic power, look up the Future Sight rules update information.  Or better yet, you can read about this question here and here.

This interaction is still broken.  And based on the latest Pro Tour results, this will be a popular deck in Extended and likely Classic.  This is not the first time that an MTG rules update has lagged far behind on MTGO and thereby invalidated a deck type.  Phyrexian Dreadnought, Flash and suspend cards like Lotus Bloom have had similar issues in the past year. 


The most intersting thread of the week was the Wizards Affiliated Posters thread for many reasons.  I think that there was a lot of good points brought up by both sides of the debate and those who wish to have more knowledge about the points of view of other posters.   I expect this debate to go on for a while, assuming it doesn't get terminated for some reason or other along the way.  V3 is still V3, which is to say, it's still 'almost here' but we have no idea when exactly or what they're really working on in it.  The more things change, the more they stay the same I guess.




$ values by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 01/31/2008 - 02:14
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

when you give the dollar values for cards is that cash or tickets? because i know tickets go for less than $1 if you buy privately.

Fantastic Article by Wizardtb (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 01/27/2008 - 07:42
Wizardtb (Unregistered)'s picture

A very good read, one of the best (if not the best) State of the Program articles. Keep up the good work!

by Stu Benedict at Sat, 01/26/2008 - 16:53
Stu Benedict's picture

I like the building the collection idea. I have always thought if i had to start my collection over that I would choose to grab some solemns first.

by urzishra (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 01/25/2008 - 15:26
urzishra (Unregistered)'s picture

well many many many pro magic players love playing texas hold em poker.. which to me is the most luck based form of card playing known to man. To me, this is how multiplayer magic should be handled in a competitive form.. players win tables of players then go on to other tables until a winner emerges. just handle them the way online poker tournaments handle themselves.. its really the same game.. especially FFA magic you have to think about is it worth being aggressive or defensive..

 so by making a blanket statement on a format that has yet to exist seems a little wrong. you may not like the way 2hg games are handled but I do. it puts the phrase "play with your friends" to the forefront rather then "go be an obnoxious pro tour jerk to everyone and act like you play better then everyone else" which is why I can not stand reading some of the "pro player" articles because they are so narrow in scope its like "if it isn't in a pro tour deck then i can be bothered at looking at it"..

 2hg games are skill intensive.. you're telling me that the last 2hg limited pro tour wasn't a skill intensive tournament? someone took a strategy that no one was really looking at and won the tournament with it.. that takes some skill to figure out what people will and won't draft then have the balls to go all the way with it. it was actually the last protour that I enjoyed watching the coverage for. I liked seeing two "nobodys" come in and take it away from "the usual suspects".. anyways it seems to me wishes would be more valuable in a sanctioned FFA game if they had say a time limit to get cards rather then being just from the sideboard.. i'm just saying if WOTC wants to make a format sanctioning FFA magic they need to model it after poker.. because really.. thats what FFA magic is.. basically poker..

by DRAGONDUNG at Fri, 01/25/2008 - 16:32
DRAGONDUNG's picture

I think the new DOW of magic will be usefull to help tell when the price of cards stabalize after the release of sets.  Might be a nice addition to the state of the program.

by urzishra (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 01/25/2008 - 17:31
urzishra (Unregistered)'s picture

I too liked the take on budget deck building.. much more intuitive then others that have come before it.. i love how your article series has grown to include a lot of content and it comes out weekly a winner is you!

dangerlinto's picture

So, I see two problems:

1) As IceAge said, there isn't much point to an overall price index.  Much better would be a composite index or an evarge price index.

2) Force of will - You have it at 50.  Perhaps the article is old, but uh, well let's just say you can get it for much less than 50 right now.  Again, that could be a 24-48 hr thing.

by iceage4life at Fri, 01/25/2008 - 15:43
iceage4life's picture

I LOVE tracking 1x of each card.  That said would it maybe make sense to track that and average price per card?  With new sets coming out that will leap all over the place.   Average price per set also would work.  Average 1x set of a set is $127.70 right now at 31 sets not counting partial sets (IA/Allicances/Promos/Vanguards/Time Shifted.)  No idea how many cards are online right now.

I like the tracking of uncommons too.

Oh and like the budget deck section, the way you do it is I think much better than BOAB's way of doing it.  Would be cool to once in a while get a guest deckbuilder for that, have them work with pool you're building and add some of their favorites. No idea who might be willing to take up such a painful task. ;)

by runeliger at Fri, 01/25/2008 - 14:47
runeliger's picture

I'm a bit confused what exactly you're trying to say. I read a couple of sections to your argumentation. You say there are two types of players. Ok agreed. 2HG is going to be there eventaully. My response was on teh basis of actual prize support for 2HG, not casual 2HG. You also seem to attack competitive players, which I'm just confused about (your argument's coherence is somewhat lost between the anger).


So just clarifying. 2HG will be in 3.0. Feel better?


by runeliger at Fri, 01/25/2008 - 14:48
runeliger's picture

just a bit confused... Who keeps saying no the multiplayer? As far as I know people who don't care for multiplayer do just that, not care. Not hate on it haha.     

by hamtastic at Fri, 01/25/2008 - 15:23
hamtastic's picture

Have you seen MP in V3?  It's awful at best, and they haven't even dedicated to leave that version on when they go live.  GameZer0 asked the community if it should be left in despite being bad or turned off until it's better, so far, we don't know which path they're taking with it yet.

It's completely possible that it won't be in V3 even as a bad option. 

no multiplayer by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 01/25/2008 - 13:25
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

there are two types of players  those who play for fun and those who play competitive , I dont care if 2hg is luck based its not a competitve format other than PRES and your ratings do not count, I for one will quit playing MTGO and sell my collection if 2hg goes away I play for fun and I am not a pro tour player or one of these other dumb players that play MTGO waste a ton of money on drafts and PE when you can buy singels way cheaper and they spend a bunch of money to give to wizards which cant make a proper v3 (no multiplater) and in the end no one cares becasue they are still not on the pro tour or playing in real life paper magic , I just believe really MTGO cannot really be played competivly its a big waste of money and I play for fun and 2hg should be there sorry.... and it makes me mad because I have invested thousands

1x card value by Wu-Lan (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 01/25/2008 - 12:55
Wu-Lan (Unregistered)'s picture

I like the interview, and really like the new stats! I know, I'm a nerd that way but I don't much care. Just one suggestion though:

   the price fluctuations will be influenced most by the new releases. to see their impact on the overall price it might be good to have a total card count to divide the current index by. Even then we'll probably see a big jump in the first three weeks due to the overly high value placed on the new cards.


Keep up the great work!


finaly! by evilnapkin at Fri, 01/25/2008 - 14:08
evilnapkin's picture

thank you for the interview hammy it was fun :) it gives a new point to these people who dont keep saying no to mulitplayer thanks for giveing us some voice looking forward to the next article

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 01/25/2008 - 11:33
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

I love the "dow Jones" chart!

by runeliger at Fri, 01/25/2008 - 11:29
runeliger's picture

A great article as always Erik.


Just have to say a couple of things.First, it's not a good idea to decide on a banned list for FFA without a bigger pool of players who are out to break the format :P . Else, one gets the "I lost this this and that deck" yesterday turn 2 at Darkwars etc., it should be banned obviously!

 Also, my biggest gripe for the idea of multiplayer support, and a gripe shared by many pro tour players, and other competitive players is that the entire format of 2HG is just too luck based. What's happening right now is that you play one game. ONE GAME! That's why a lot of the cards that OH mentioned to be banned are even listed. It's hard to hate out archetypes without a sideboard. It makes control play hard haha. But it also makes 2HG sealed a bit of a huge risk as you aren't able to truly play a skill intensive game if you and your partner are both forced to mulligan to 5 (assuming the decks are correctly built) on the play. Wonder how Wizards would deal with this.